Abstract

 

Lipid accumulation in white adipose tissue is the key contributor to the obesity and orchestrates numerous metabolic health problems such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Nonetheless, the prevention and treatment of obesity are still inadequate. Recently, scientists found that brown adipose tissue (BAT) in adult humans has functions that are diametrically opposite to those of white adipose tissue and that BAT holds promise for a new strategy to counteract obesity. In this study, we evaluated the potential of sinapic acid (SA) to promote the thermogenic program and lipolysis in BAT. SA treatment of brown adipocytes induced the expression of brown-adipocyte activation–related genes such as Ucp1, Pgc1, and Prdm16. Furthermore, structural analysis and western blot revealed that SA upregulates protein kinase A (PKA) phosphorylation with competitive inhibition by a pan-PKA inhibitor, H89. SA binds to the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) site on the PKA catalytic subunit where H89 binds specifically. PKA-cat-1 gene–silencing experiments confirmed that SA activates the thermogenic program via a mechanism involving PKA and cyclic AMP response element–binding protein (CREB) signaling. Moreover, SA treatment promoted lipolysis via a PKA/p38-mediated pathway. Our findings may allow us to open a new avenue of strategies against obesity and need further investigation.